Monday, 18 June 2012

Lockerbie after 24 years: back to square one

[This is the headline over an article published on 14 June on the Middle East Online website.  It reads as follows:]

Now that Mr. Al-Meghrahi died and Colonel Gathafi gone before him does the world know the truth about that fatal night of December 1988? Unfortunately not, writes Mustafa Fetouri.

On May 20th Abdel Baset Al-Meghrahi the only Lockerbie convict died at his Damascus district home, south of the Libyan capital Tripoli. Nearly three years ago he was released from Scottish jail for humanitarian reasons and “allowed to return to Libya to die” as the Scottish justice minister Kenny MacAskill put it. The man was already diagnosed with prostate cancer in terminal stage. His doctors gave him weeks or months to live but he lived for nearly three years.

Dr Jim Swire whose daughter Flora died in the tragedy believed neither Libya nor Mr Al-Megrahi had anything to do with the Lockerbie tragedy. He has been very critical of the court that handed down the verdict against Mr Al-Meghrahi. I happen to share the same belief with Dr Swire whom I met and even shared spot on a TV talk show in 2009
In his search for the truth Dr Swire visited Libya couple of times, met the late Colonel Gathafi, and became close to Mr Al-Meghrahi regularly visiting him in jail in Scotland. Last December the two men met for the last time in Tripoli. Reporting on the meeting Dr Swire wrote that Mr Al-Megrahi “ was concerned that I as a victim’s father should get access, on his death, to all the information that had been amassed to fight his abandoned appeal.“

In my own search of the truth immediately after the 2001 trial ended I communicated briefly with Dr Hans Köchler the UN appointed observer to the court. Dr Köchler was very certain about the unreliability of the prosecutor’s star witness; a Maltese shop owner named Toni Gauci. Mr Gauci’s evidence was crucial to convict Abdelbast as it was the only “strong” evidence that directly linked the convict to the cloths in which the bomb was wrapped. Yet when cross examined Mr Gauci failed to recall the same details twice nevertheless his evidence was taken into account by the court sitting in Camp Zeist, The Netherlands. Ever since his appearance at the court Mr Gauci disappeared without trace. He could not be found in Malta not anywhere else. That is until a year ago when a private detective, working for a TV documentary, spotted him back in his little home in Valetta, Malta. Of course he could not be approached for interview.

Until the last minute of his life Mr Al-Meghrahi loudly protested his innocence expressing his determination to clear his name. He told me the same thing when I met him in 2010. Our meeting was arranged in his house with the hope that I will write a TV documentary telling his side of the story which never told. Inching towards his death I was impressed by his sharp memory and determination to clear his name. Despite the fact that he appeared weak and frail at the time he was welcoming and aware of political events particularly following the Tunisian revolt.

I later found out that a London based publisher was helping Mr Al-Meghrahi write his memories. One of Saif al-Islam Gathafi’s assistants who arranged my meeting with him later confirmed the news to me in a phone conversation. I would urge who ever behind the project to publish the book as soon as possible as it’s sure to reveal previously unknown details. [RB: The book is John Ashton's Megrahi: You are my Jury, published in Edinburgh by Birlinn.]

It is now emerged that Mr Gauci was offered USD 2 million by the CIA in order to testify against Mr. Al-Meghrahi in 2001 after which Mr Gauci disappeared from Malta altogether. This important information was never shared with the defense lawyers at the time of the trial.

Now that Mr Al-Meghrahi died and Colonel Gathafi gone before him does the world know the truth about hat fatal night of December 1988? Unfortunately not. We are back to square one despite the fall of the Gathafi regime and the availability of the entire archives of the Libyan state to anyone who wanted to read particularly after the total collapse of the government last September. I’m certain that most of the Libyan State archives are not in the hands of Western intelligence services since “revolutionary brigades” had little interest in reading. It’s horrific how the government building with important documents where looted in Tripoli and other cities!

The only persons alive today who could shed some light on the case are Saif al-Isalam Gathafi who is jailed in Libya and Abdallah Sanusi the former head of the Libyan intelligence jailed in Mauritania. Another person who should know something is Mr Abuzed Dorda the former head of the Libyan espionage organization known as Aljamahyria’s External Security Establishment Mr Dorda’s trial opened last week in Libya.

It is now appropriate to try to find out who destroyed the Pan Am Flight 103 24 years ago killing 270 innocent people. It is important not only for the victims’ families to find out the truth but also to the reconciliation process in Libya if a new stable and democratic country is to emerge. If the United Sates and the UK governments in particular seek justices it’s time to open the case again to try to find out what really happened over Lockerbie.

Mustafa Fetouri is an independent Libyan academic and journalist. He won the EU’s Samir Kassir award for the best opinion article in 2010.


  1. Mission Lockerbie, 2012 (google translation, german/english):
    Where are your alleged evidence Mr Jalil ?

    The head of Libya's National Transitional Council (NTC) Mustafa Abdul Jalil, who had say bei start of the civil wahr in Libya, in a interview with swedish newspaper "Expressen" (February 24, 2011): he have the evidence that Gaddafi orchestrated the bombing of PanAm 103-- this is now reseted and the UN, USA and UK / SCOTLAND let this to ?!
    Justice for Libya, now (NTC of Libya) and for Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, who died.

    by Edwin and Mahnaz Bollier, MEBO Ltd, Switzerland URL:

  2. MISSION LOCKERBIE, 2012, doc. nr. 8142.rtf. (google translation, german/english):
    Documents for years under secret !

    There were irregularities already when the tiny electronics component of a MEBO-timer MST-13 (PT/35) in Lockerbie was found: In a fax from expert Allen Feraday (RARDE) to Scottish police chief William Williamson, the MST-13 timer fragment Fund is documented initially on January 12, 1990 - later in a concoct memo'randum to Williamson, the Fund was back dated of 15 September 1989, and in the final report of the competent experts he write suddenly the date of the (MST-13) Fund on the exami-nations page 51, back to May 12, 1989 !

    It is clear that the last date something cannot agree. Two weeks after the May 12 (1989) three senior Scottish police investigators in a meeting in Bern/Switzerland with the Federal Prosecutor's Office about the State of the investigation and possible offenders hypotheses exchanged. But the new Fund of a (MST-13 timer fragment) was not an subject at the two-day meeting in Berne not even on the edge...

    The Swiss Federal Prosecutor's Office wanted to keep this Protocol of the meeting of 24-25 May 1989, hold under secrecy, but after one and a half years legal grievance, the newspaper "Beobachter" received inspection.
    According to the records, the police officers discussed only the Palestinian faction at that time as possible criminals PFLP General command.
    This is the organisation that was responsible for the Swissair 330 crash from "Würenlingen" (1970) and further aircraft attacks. Other documents show that always brought back during the entire investigation into questionable operations.
    The British held above all for years important documents under secrecy, which had to the official version of the Act in question. Recently, the Scottish judicial authority published a good 800-pages report - further thirteen volumes of SCCRC- appendices documents still under secrecy !

    It lists a whole range of serious irregularities in the investigation; in 6 points a miscarriage of justice ! The authority comes to the conclusion that the prosecution had withheld important files and information the defenders of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi. Several times, the Court had therefore infringed the right of the accused to a fair trial. Always doubts about the authenticity of.

    The known inconsistencies were clear - at least in part the investigators already at the beginning of the 1990s. Because even senior police staff expressed doubts as to the authenticity of the electronic device found at the crash site again and again.
    So even the former head of the competent Department of Swiss Federal Police (BUPO) Hans K. should have entrusted to Richard Marquise the FBI chief investigator: Commissener K. suspect the fragment was at the crash site «placed» has been. Marquise confirms this statement towards the Swiss news paper "Beobachter".
    Justice for Libya, now (NTC of Libya) and for Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, who died.

    by Edwin Bollier, MEBO Ltd Switzerland URL:

  3. If Libya had nothing to do with the bombing then neither Saif Al-Gaddafi nor Mr Sanussi could cast much light on what happened. However there are other people in this world who could.